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Dad straps 4 kids to car hood and drives away, police say

Aaron Stefanski, left, and Jessica A. Clark were arrested after 911 reports of four children strapped to a car's hood, according to police.

Last week, two Florida grandparents were accused of using their SUV to tow their granddaughter down the street in her toy car after they had a few drinks.

This week, a dad in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been arrested after allegedly strapping four young children to the hood of his car after a liquor store stop.

The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reports that Aaron Stefanski told police: "I was only going to drive around the corner. I thought they would like it."


Stefanski, 29, was driving with his 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old and 5-year-old sons, along with Jessica Clark and her 7-year-old daughter, when they stopped at a liquor store on Monday afternoon, according to the Journal Gazette.

The store manager and other bystanders called 911 and reported that Stefanski used a tow strap to tie the children onto the hood of a large white vehicle and then took off down the street. A U.S. marshal heard the dispatch and stopped the car about three blocks from the store. Fort Wayne officers arrived and arrested the driver, according to a police news release.

“With one of those straps you crank on a semi to hold down lumber, they were strapped with that thing, wiggling and wobbling down the street,” witness Tom Nowak old NBC station WISE of Fort Wayne.

Witnesses told WISE that after the car was pulled over, the woman tried to leave.

“Everyone said, ‘No! She watched it all, sat in the passenger seat and let it all happen. Take her too!’ So they called her back and handcuffed her,” Nowak told WISE.

Witness Keith Kennedy told WISE that after the arrests, the driver said, “It was only 20 feet.”

“I thought, come on, you know? Those kids' lives were at risk. If he would've turned and one of the kids would've fell, he would've run right over them,” Kennedy said.

The Journal Gazette said that according to a probable cause affidavit, Stefanski's blood alcohol level was 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit. He was charged with three felony counts of neglect of a dependent, felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated and four misdemeanor counts of criminal recklessness. Clark was arrested on a charge of felony neglect of a dependent.

Stefanski's children were later released to their mother, and Clark's daughter was placed with state child services, the police report said.

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